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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Apr 2021 - 9 Apr 2021

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2021 Mar 29


Contribution of the µ opioid receptor and enkephalin to the antinociceptive actions of endomorphin-1 analogs with unnatural amino acid modifications in the spinal cord.


Endomorphin analogs containing unnatural amino acids have demonstrated potent analgesic effects in our previous studies. In the present study, the differences in antinociception and the mechanisms thereof for analogs 1-3 administered intracerebroventricularly and intrathecally were explored. All analogs at different routes of administration produced potent analgesia compared to the parent peptide endomorphin-1. Multiple antagonists and antibodies were used to explore the mechanisms of action of these analogs, and it was inferred that analogs 1-3 stimulated the µ opioid receptor to induce antinociception. Moreover, the antibody data suggested that analog 2 may induce the release of immunoreactive [Leu]-enkephaline and [Met]-enkephaline to produce a secondary component of antinociception at the spinal level and analog 3 may stimulate the the release of immunoreactive [Met]-enkephaline at the spinal level. Finally, analogs 2 and 3 produced no acute tolerance in the spinal cord. We hypothesize that the unique characteristics of the endomorphin analogs result from their capacities to stimulate the release of endogenous antinociceptive substances.